Arabs excluded from traditional Independence Day event? (YNetNews.Com -Yedioth Internet) Moran Azulay Published: 03.29.12, 13:25)
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Politicians blast committee´s failure to include minorities in
Independence Day torch-lighting ceremony
Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin blasted a State committee headed by
Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov on Thursday for failing to include
Arab individuals among those picked to light a torch during this
year´s traditional Independence Day ceremony.
"There are groups within Israel which have interlaced their fates and
lives with the Israeli society, and are full partners in the Zionist
undertaking and the protection of the state´s existence," Rivlin
said. "It´s unacceptable that a national ceremony marking our
independence does not express this fact. This is not a symbolic
issue, but a reality that we cannot deny."
He urged the ceremony´s organizing committee to add a member of a
minority group to the list of torch-lighters.
"The topic of this year´s ceremony – ´water as a source of life´ –
isn´t just a Jewish issue, but applies to each group within the
Israeli society – the Druze, Arabs, Bedouins and everyone who shares
the State of Israel with us."
Labor Faction Chairman Isaac Herzog blamed the mishap on the
"This is yet another example of the government´s failing conduct," he
said. "It´s unacceptable that no member of a minority was chosen to
be among the torch lighters. Israeli society includes a wide array of
ethnicities and religions, and all of them should be represented. I
call on the prime minister to right the wrong and add, alongside the
worthy individuals who have been picked, members of minorities as
well, who are an inseparable part of the state."
´Minorities spilled blood to build country´
MK Majalli Whbee (Kadima) said that she intends to officially
petition Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over the issue.
"When it´s convenient, the government presents minorities as full
partners in everything that touches upon the life in Israel," he
said. "It´s unfortunate that the state… shuts its eyes and excludes
members of other religions who have spilled their blood to build the
country. The torch-lighting ceremony doesn´t belong solely to the
Jewish citizens, and there are enough minority members who are worthy
of taking part in the event."
All of the individuals who were included in this year´s list have
something to do with water, including Ruvik Danilovich, the mayor of
Beersheba – a city called after a well dug by Abraham, the biblical
forefather. The ceremony is to take place on April 25 on Jerusalem´s
Also among the honorees are hydrotherapist Esther Abraham, engineer
Moshe Cohen, teen scientist and high school senior Maya Brown, future
Navy cadet and high school senior Lior Lefber, teacher Ori Moran and
doctoral candidate Orit Skutelsky.
The list also includes Mekorot Board Chairman Alex Wiznitzer,
practical hydrology expert Herzel Naor, irrigation pioneer Shlomo
Zwaifler, Professor Emeritus Menahem Rebhun, National Center for
Mariculture Director Dr. Hanna Rosenfeld and water systems expert
Giora Shaham. (Copyright 2012 © Yedioth Internet 03/29/12)
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